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Just Buffalo Literary Center’s BIG NIGHT is Back!

By Amanda McLaughlin:

Just Buffalo Literary Center is pleased to announce that its 2011 BIG NIGHT will be held on January 29th at the Western New York Book Arts Center.  BIG NIGHT will feature poet Lisa Jarnot, music by Jack Topht with the Vegetables, Combat Paper Project’s talk and reading, with food by Geoferry Gatza.   The eclectic lineup is sure to provide an exciting kick-off to 2011.

Born in Buffalo, New York in 1967, and currently residing in Sunnyside, New York, Lisa Jarnot is the acclaimed author of four full-length collections of poetry:  Some Other Kind of Mission (Burning Deck Press, 1996), Ring of Fire, (Zoland Books, 2001 and Salt Publishers, 2003), Black Dog Songs (Flood Editions, 2003) and Night Scenes (Flood Editions, 2008).  In addition to her published work, she has edited two small magazines (No Trees, 1987-1990, and Troubled Surfer, 1991-1992) as well as The Poetry Project Newsletter and An Anthology of New (American) Poetry (Talisman House Publishers, 1997).  Her newest work, a biography of San Francisco poet Robert Duncan, is forthcoming in 2011.

The wildly entertaining Jack Topht with the Vegetables describes itself as follows:  “Part M.C., part motivational speaker, part performance artist, and part folkie.”  A longtime Buffalo noise musician, Topht mixes Bob Dylan and Kook Keith’s lyrical attack styles with nods to bands like King Missle, Crass, and the Minutmen’s “vocalized information blasting and live rock power. ”  Topht is accompanied by “The Vegetables,” an innovative one-woman band featuring Lindsey Grate, who simultaneously plays the keyboard and drum.   Her punk/blues/folk aesthetic combined with Topht’s character driven performances combine to create an unpretentious, new American rock-and-roll experience.  Equal parts silly and political, Jack Topht with the Vegetables is a unique addition to Buffalo’s live music scene, with lyrics molded to each performance, and a groovy warmth that radiates across the stage.

Drew Matott, Margaret Mahan, and Christopher Arendt will represent the Combat Paper Project.  The organization’s website,, describes their mission as follows:  “The Combat Paper Project utilizes art-making workshops to assist veterans in reconciling and sharing their personal expressions as well as broadening the traditional narrative surrounding service and the military culture.  Through papermaking workshops veterans use their uniforms worn in combat to create cathartic works of art.  The uniforms are cut up, beaten into a pulp, and formed into sheets of paper.  Veterans use the transformative process of papermaking to reclaim their uniform as art and begin to embrace their experiences in the military.  Drew Matott co-founded the Green Door Studio, People’s Republic of Paper, the Combat Paper Project, BluSeed Paper Mill, and Free Your Mind Press.  While initially drawn to the papermaking aspects of CPP, Margaret Mahan now focuses on the written components of the workshops after studying the poetry of exile with Tibetan refugees India in the fall of 2009.  She composes her own poetry and seeks to “amplify the writings of communities which are…so often silenced, yet all the more inspiring and artistically innovative.”  Christopher Arendt, in his hilarious yet oddly poignant description of himself, describes himself as a man who “had always wanted to graduate from the rank of trailer trash so he joined the part-time Army to become a part-time man.”  After finding himself in Guantanamo Bay, he realized “something was not right in the world,” and years later, “after much wandering and self abuse,” he heard the prayers of the Guantanamo detainees calling to him, so he “quit his job and took off down the road.  Now he writes, but nobody pays him because he is free.”  Arendt completed a residency at Kalamazoo Book Arts in 2010, and traveled with the Combat Paper Project in the United Kingdom in 2009.   More information about the Combat Paper Project can be found by emailing

Geoffrey Gatza, BIG NIGHT’s chef, is a former sous-chef at the Mansion on Delaware Avenue with a degree from the Culinary Institute of America.  A Gulf War Veteran, Gatza is a poet and the publisher of BlazeVOX (books).  

BIG NIGHT will take place on Saturday, January 29th at The Western New York Book Arts Center, which is located at 468 Washington Street at Mohawk in Buffalo.  Admission is $5 for the general public, and free for members of Just Buffalo Literary Center, Western New York Book Arts Center, CEPA, Big Orbit, and UB students with ID.  The food is free, and there will be a cash bar.  More information on the event can be found at, by emailing, or by calling 716.832.5400.  

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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